Oberammergau Pilgrimage Q & A

Q. What class of hotels are we staying in during the Crossroads Initiative Pilgrimage to the Oberammergau Passion Play, Austria and Poland?

A. We stay in deluxe, superior, first-class hotels.

For names of the actual hotels we will be staying in in Oberammergau, Bavaria, Poland and Austria, call Jane at Select International Tours 800-842-4842 or email her your query Jane@select-intl.com

Q. That brings up a good point, what flights will we be taking?

A.  Our tour company, Select International, has arranged group rates from several different US gateway airports in Warsaw with a return from MunichFor pricing from the different gateways, airlines and flight numbers, call Jane Allison at 800-842-4842 or email her jane@select-intl.com.  Select International is very accommodating in helping you upgrade, if you wish to premium economy or business class based on availability.   If you don’t live near one of the gateway cities for which a group rate has been negotiated, Select International will be happy to help you arrange flights that will be convenient for you.

Q. What will our guides be like on this Tour of Oberammergau, Bavaria, Austria and Poland?

A.  A tour of holy and historical places is only as good as your guide.   Many local guides leave much to be desired in terms of their knowledge, their ability to comment on the spiritual significance of a particular site for Christians, and their command of English.  Marcellino D’Ambrosio (aka “Dr. Italy”) has twin academic specialties make him an extraordinary guide to Central—he is an expert in secular European history and Culture on the one hand, and in theology and Church history, including the writings of St. John Paul II, on the other.  Furthermore, his commentary, however informative, is always understandable and spiritually uplifting.  He will be assisted by local German and Polish-speaking guides as well.  We carefully look for local guides are knowledgeable but also spiritual.  Their English is very good and clear.  It has taken us years to identify Catholic guides of this caliber — of the thousands of local guides available for tours, these are the cream of the crop.

Q. Will this be a tour or a spiritual pilgrimage?

A.  Both.  We will have wonderful times of prayer, liturgy & music daily, with Mass in one of the holy places that we visit each day!   Each person who wishes will have the opportunity to serve as a lector in one of our special masses.  If you are a properly authorized extraordinary minister of the eucharist, there may be an opportunity to serve in that capacity as well.  But the information and insight you will get into the places we visit as well as the biblical texts that talk about them will be extraordinary.

Q. Who is arranging all the practicalities of the tour?

A.  Select International Tours is our US Tour company and are available Monday – Friday to assist you.  They are a Catholic company that tithes with a special concern to support the Christian community in the Holy Land.  We have a dedicated tour manager for our pilgrimages – Jane Allison jane@select-intl.com 800-842-4842.   On the ground in Europe, Select International will be assisted by an European  company that knows the ins and outs of countries we are visiting.  Should any problem arise, we don’t need to call the States for help.  The local tour office will be in constant touch with us and will actually have a tour manager with us on the bus wherever we go.

Q. Can I take your Oberammergau - Austria - Poland tour but arrange for my own air transportation? I’d like to use Frequent flyer miles.

A.  Absolutely.  The price for the land only package is listed on the itinerary pages for the Pilgrimage. But remember, you’ll have to arrange for your own transfers from airport (Warsaw) to hotel (Warsaw) and final hotel (Munich) to the airport (Munich).  Our tour company can help you with this.  Email Jane@select-intl.com

Q. What is the weather like in Poland, Austria and Bavaria in August?

A. Generally, temperatures in North Central Europe will be more moderate than in most places in the continental USA during the same  period.  The average highs in Oberammergau at this time of year is in the 70’s, a bit cooler than in Poland.  But heat waves can happen.  It would be best to be prepared for both fall and early fall type weather.  If you register for the tour, our tour company will provide you with tips for what clothing to bring a month or so before departure.

Q. Is much walking required?

A. Generally much less than on other tours that we’ve organized, such as to the Vatican or Holy Land, for example.  Most of the time, our bus gets quite close to the sites we are visiting.   People with canes and needing some assistance will do fine on this tour but we regret that those requiring wheelchairs cannot be accommodated.  If you are in doubt whether your state of health will allow you to enjoy this tour, call Jane at Select International 1-800-842-4842 and talk it over with her.  She has visited all the sites, has intimate knowledge of the itinerary, and will give you candid advice.

Q. In Austria, will you be visiting sites connected with the von Trapp family and the Sound of Music? How about sites especially connected to the lives of Sts. Maximilian Kolbe and John Paul II?

A.  Yes to all of the above!  Inspiring commentary on the life and heroic death of St. Maximilian Kolbe is a special feature of this tour, which we will especially highlight on the day when we visit Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp where he and so many others died.  Another special feature will be enlightening and inspiring commentary by Dr. Italy on the life and teaching of St. John Paul II in the course of visiting his hometown and the place where he was college chaplain and archbishop for so many years, Kracow.  While Maria von Trapp is not a canonized saint, she truly was a holy woman of deep faith, so as we visit Austrian sites connected with the famous movie about her story, we will tell some little-known anecdotes about her that will delight and inspire you.

Q. What sort of reading should we do to prepare for this trip?

A.  There are many great resources that would help you prepare yourself to get the most out of the trip.  One of the many lives of Sts Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, and John Paul II would be ideal.  Some Worthwhile videos on the lives of these saints can be obtained on DVD from Ignatius Press.   Re-watching the classic movie the Sound of Music would be fun.   Regarding the Passion Play,    it would be awesome to watch part three of Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth or Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ before you depart or after you return.  If you register for this tour, we will send you more specific ideas for background reading or watching several months before departure.

Q. Will daily Mass and Confessions be available on this pilgrimage?

A. Yes! Our group will have Mass daily in some of the most special and moving places in Europe.  Since we will have several priests traveling with us, confession and the Sacrament of the Sick will also be available for our pilgrims.

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